Two things stand out as most memorable to me from my grade-school days.
First, I could be a tad social — some would also call that disruptive. I mean, I wasn’t the kid who would raise his hand and proceed to go scene-by-scene through the Bugs Bunny cartoon he had viewed the night before.
My social nature was more being distracted by — or distracting — those around me. Talking as my hand was going up instead of waiting to be called on. Questioning things from time to time.
Second, my penmanship was bloody awful. Easily the worst marks (academically) I received during those years that saw me attend kindergarten at a Catholic school, first grade at one public school and then second through sixth grades at Spring Branch Elementary in Independence were for penmanship.
I had other (mostly) wonderful experiences in grade school, save the time my art teacher decided my interpretation of a horse was unworthy to even grade and pitched it in the trash in front of the class. Yes, that really happened.
But, largely, grade school was a social, positive experience. And I see those same traits almost daily with my own daughter, which sometimes is just scary.
She is still learning her letters, and I catch myself trying to teach her the correct cursive lower- and upper-case letters without actually knowing if we are still teaching cursive. With all that in mind, I won’t truly start to worry about her penmanship for a little while longer.
What I was able to determine early on, however, is that — perhaps — Addy has a challenging time always staying focused, practicing self-control and being an all-star listener.
She thinks it; she says it.
In that vein, I almost feel wrought with guilt when I have a sit-down with her about why one of her non-academic marks fell from a 4 to a 3 on her second-quarter progress report. Interestingly enough, when I simply ask her why, she’s pretty darn capable of enlightening me.
Of course, Addy has grown up around a fairly social environment.
Not many 7-year-old kids have sat through city council meetings and know their town’s mayor by face, but she does and can point out Randy Rhoads the second she spots him. Even fewer kids probably know who their city council representatives are, but Addy knows them both. By name.
Former Parks and Recreation Administrator Tom Lovell is also in the Addy rolodex, as are several business owners in downtown Lee’s Summit.
Whether or not she chooses to make Lee’s Summit home after her graduation from Tiger High, I know not.
I do know she will continue to grow and learn. Sometimes the hard way.
She will take her social bumps and bruises and, hopefully, get right back up with the same tenacity she does when she’s physically knocked down.
Ultimately, her grade card reflects her personality.
Fortunately, it doesn’t fully define her.
Lee’s Summit resident John Beaudoin writes about city and civic issues, people and personalities around town. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.